Croatia ranks 37th in the world’s top environments for a competitive information technology (IT) sector with a score of 38.3 out of 100, according to a new study issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The study, now in its third year, assesses and compares the IT industry environments of 66 countries to determine the extent to which they enable IT sector competitiveness.
Croatia scored well in categories such as the business environment, the legal environment and support for IT industry development, but that it needed to improve its IT infrastructure, human capital and R&D environment.
The top five countries in the world are United States (78.9), Finland (73.6), Sweden (71.5), Canada (71.3) and Netherlands (70.7).
"Globally, the IT sector has ridden out the crisis reasonably well, despite reduced technology spending," says Denis McCauley, director of global technology research with the Economist Intelligence Unit. "Rather than pushing short-term measures designed to boost sector output or support ailing IT producers, policymakers need to remain focused on strengthening the fundamental enablers of long-term sector competitiveness."
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, six factors work together to create a sound environment for the IT sector: an ample supply of skilled workers; an innovation-friendly culture; world-class technology infrastructure; a robust legal regime that protects intellectual property; a stable, open, and competitive economy; and government leadership that strikes the right balance between promoting technology and allowing market forces to work.
Those countries that perform well in these six “competitiveness enablers” generally are home to high-performance IT industries. The study is intended to provide a roadmap for governments in addressing their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to supporting a strong domestic IT sector.
Other findings from the Economist Intelligence Unit research and BSA recommendations include:
• Broadband networks are a vital factor for IT competitiveness, and the competitiveness gap could widen for countries with slower adoption. Technology firms demand fast, reliable, and secure Internet access, and the importance of broadband will grow as more IT services and applications are delivered over the Internet.
• Investment in skills development, including a combination of IT, business and language skills training, remains a long-term imperative.
• Protectionism and support for ailing ‘national champions’ will hinder recovery efforts – and longer term sector competitiveness.
• Intellectual property (IP) regimes are improving in many emerging markets, but further progress is needed. IP protection is critically important to IT competitiveness and is a relatively low-cost way of stimulating long-term economic development.
For more information on the index results and the methodology, see “Resilience amid turmoil: Benchmarking IT industry competitiveness 2009,” available free of charge at www.eiu.com or www.bsa.org/globalindex.